The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Health Worker Wins Arthur Svensson Int’l Prize

The “Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights” of 2022 has been awarded to the Liberian trade union for health workers National Health Workers Union of Liberia (NAHWUL) under the leadership of George Poe Williams.
The workers Union received the award for its fight for basic trade union rights for a group of workers who has been particularly vulnerable during the severe pandemics that hit Liberia in recent years.
During the Ebola pandemic in Liberia, health workers had very poor working conditions and it was recorded that at least 10 percent of health workers lost their lives.
At the same time, as the world applauds health workers’ fight against Covid-19, health workers in Liberia still lack protective equipment, received low wages and their rights to organize had been attacked.
Williams’ leadership fought for the health workers’ right to organize and bargain with an idea that a strong union was needed to improve the working conditions of the health workers.
The Advisor for Industri Energi and Secretary for the prize committee, Espen Løken, said the government of Liberia sees the union’s growth as a threat for which Williams and several members on the leadership were fired from their jobs.
After a global campaign, Williams and his colleagues got their jobs back and NAHWUL was promised a number of improvements and that the union would get the right to bargain.
It can be recalled that in 2020, the health workers took action and the authorities threatened to send security forces against them and imprisoned Williams.
The award of the “Arthur Svensson International Prize for Professional Rights” will put pressure on the Liberian authorities to recognize NAHWUL in the country, with the right to negotiate on behalf of its members.
The award will contribute to NAHWUL’s campaign for better health services and better working conditions for health workers in the country
The prize should also be seen as recognition of health workers around the world. “They have had very demanding working conditions during the pandemic,” says Espen Løken.

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